What is Brand Identity and why is it important?
What is Brand?
Your brand identity is how you want to portray your business to your customers, and includes how you choose your business name, the design of your logo, the colors and shapes or graphics you use, and the type of language you use (your “tone of voice”).
Brand identity is different to brand image, which is the result of these efforts. I.e. a successful brand identity translates into a positive brand image.
The strongest brand identities are instantly recognizable and convey a message about that business.
Why is it important to my business?
With a strong brand identity:
· You’ll start getting more business and more of the sort of business you want
· Larger organizations will take you seriously
· A strong brand makes it easier to build your business to be the shape you want
Perception of quality – “If you look the part, you can charge more”
For smaller businesses, a strong brand identity positions you in the mind of your customer as providing quality worth paying for. If you want to attract more customers prepared to spend more money, getting your brand identity right gets them through the door.
Recognition and loyalty - “A good brand sticks in customers’ minds”
With a strong brand identity, customers are much more likely to remember your business. A strong brand name and logo/image helps to keep your company in the mind of your potential customers.
If a customer’s happy with your products or services, a solid brand identity helps to build customer loyalty across your business.
People like to be associated with “good” brands. Customers are more likely to refer you to others if they have a positive feeling about your brand.
Experience and reliability
A strong brand identity creates an image of an established business that’s been around long enough to become well-known. A branded business is more likely to be seen as experienced, and generally be seen as more reliable and trustworthy than an unbranded business.
Differentiation – “A good brand makes you stand out from the competition”
Companies are continually looking for ways to differentiate their brand’s identity from their competitors. A strong brand identity can make you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
For smaller businesses, investing in your brand identity can help you leapfrog other, bigger competitors and start winning more of the business you want.
What is a Brand Manual?
One of the most important brand assets for any company is their “brand manual” or “brand style guide” document. Being consistent in brand messaging is crucial to the growth and success of a brand. And a brand manual or brand guide does the job of ensuring this consistency.
However, the right way to create a brand identity is to actually focus on creating a brand identity system. This brand identity system takes your brand from having just a shirt to a three-piece suit which enables the brand to look the best and be perceived appropriately.
Once the brand identity system is created, it is essential that a set of rules and guidelines are established on how the various elements of the brand identity system are implemented and executed in your branding endeavors and campaigns. A document that dictates these rules and guidelines on the elements of your brand identity system and how they should be used is called a brand manual or brand style guide document.
In this section you will find the fundamentals of your logo design.
The purpose of this section of your brand style guide is to not only enumerate the technical specifications of your logo but also guidelines of how and how not to use your logo design.
Technical specifications of your logo design include measurements of the main components of your logo such as the icon and the typography, distance and ration between the two, spacing and padding around the logo and so on. Recommendations can also include files formats permitted and versions that make the cut or not.
When it comes to logo design, the value of typography can never be taken for granted. If the point of a logo is to communicate messages, there is no better way to do that than the use of letters and words. Since logos are all about aesthetics, it helps to choose the best lettering style for the design process. Read more about the value of typography in the logo designing process.
As such the typography section of the brand manual or brand style guide is a section that most vendors, web designers and others who come in contact with your brand would be referring to. You have list out your primary font and secondary or complimentary fonts in different weights and styles.
A Type Hierarchy is also very important and shows how the font and text looks at various sizes and in headings of various weights.
Illustrating the color palette is crucial to maintaining brand consistency and this section is a crucial part of any brand manual or brand style guide. Color is one of the most important aspects of any successful brand or startup. If you look at any of the super brands out there, you notice that they tend to own a color. Picking the right color and then applying that color consistently to all their branding strategies is the key to owing a color that creates the right kind of brand recall. Read more about owning a color for your brand success.
Color theory gives us a clear understanding of the harmonious relationships between colors. Colors are not just visual treats. They can also communicate messages by way of the various feelings they can inspire to people. Read more about the impact of color theory.